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Friday, 26th June 2020

Teaching sexual health and rights

By Poppy Vernon

I’m Poppy and I am the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) education specialist for Project Safidy. Here are some of the reasons I think teaching young people about SRHR is necessary and why I am thrilled to have worked on Project Safidy over the last year.

Having worked as a sexual health nurse and educator with many different demographics, in my opinion, SRHR topics are some of the most important lessons a person will learn in their lifetime. Sexual health affects everyone – young or old, gay or straight, rich or poor – understanding about sex is not only empowering, it is a right.

People often believe that teaching young people about SRHR may lead to increased sexual activity, however, this is not the case. Research shows that curriculum-based comprehensive SRHR education programmes can contribute to delayed initiation of sexual intercourse, decreased frequency of sexual intercourse, decreased number of sexual partners, reduced risk-taking, increased use of condoms, increased use of contraception and fostering empowerment of girls and women and greater gender equality (UNESCO,2016).  That’s a pretty significant impact!

Everyone deserves the knowledge to help protect their own health, well-being and dignity.

Since returning to the UK in late March, Poppy has split her time between continuing to work remotely for SEED and returning to work for the NHS.